Late last week and this weekend were particularly terrible ones for GA accidents, with a pair of crashes of light twins, both Beechcraft models, which were fatal for all aboard. While the NTSB continues to investigate both crashes, each one has the early signs that a loss of engine power in one engine might have led to a loss of control with fatal consequences.
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The first to occur took place on Thursday night. A Beech Duke, a 1970s era twin-engine piston pressurized twin, was taking off from Fullerton Municipal Airport when it went out of control, rolled inverted and crashed nose first into the ground. While it is not known what caused the loss of control, from the video it looks to be a departure from controlled flight consistent with the loss of an engine below safe single engine speed. The NTSB is investigating.
The pilot of the flight was Robert Ellis, a Utah dentist who used the plane to commute between Southern California and central Utah, where he had dental practices. Ellis is survived by his wife and four children.
The video of the crash sequence has been widely circulated, and we have chosen not to include it with this story. If you do choose to find it online, please be advised that it is graphic and hard to watch.
On Sunday morning another crash of a twin-engine plane, a Beech B-58 Baron, claimed the lives of all six on board when it crashed while on approach to Kerrville Municipal in the Hill Country of Central Texas, after a 90-minute flight from the West Houston airport. The flight seemed to be proceeding without incident until it was on final approach to Kerrville. Flight data show the plane’s speed and altitude beginning to fluctuate greatly before it crashed approximately six miles short of the runway.
The pilot, Jeffrey Weiss, 65, was a financial analyst. He was an experienced, well-respected pilot, according to posts on his social media pages. His Facebook page is filled with tributes and memories of happier flights with him. Weiss was a frequent volunteer in flying patients to hard to reach health care facilities.
The victims of the crash, four men and one woman in their 40s and 50s, were all from the Houston area.